NOTE: Be sure to unplug all un-necessary USB devices (everything except mouse/keyboard) before attempting any of these steps, as crazy as it sounds many people can not get the Vista install CD to recognize their Windows install to repair it unless USB devices are unplugged. Don’t ask me why. Now you’ve unplugged them haven’t you? You better have. Great, lets go.
Go ahead and get out that Vista Boot disk that you have, insert it into your CD drive and then turn on your computer. Hold down “F12″ while booting to open up your “Boot To” menu prompt. Select “CD-ROM” and then continue by pressing enter. Now depending on several random factors Vista could take almost a full 10 minutes to get to the point where it shows its install screen. But seeing as tutorials work outside the constraints of time, let’s just assume you are already there. First you will see a screen that has some time/region info on it, go ahead and click the next button. Now instead of clicking the big shiny button in the middle, go ahead and click down at the bottom left hand side that says, “Repair your computer”. Now you should see an old Windows 95 stylistic menu and a list of all the operating systems the install disk detects. If your list is empty, try waiting a few moments or removing all but your master hard-drive. And if that fails, just go ahead and hit next anyway. Now highlight your Vista OS and click Next. Now it should start up automatic recovery at this point and most problems can be fixed through this method. But if startup recovery cannot fix the problem go ahead and click on the “Command Prompt” option from the System Recovery Options.
Trick: If you know what your problem is, but just can’t get into an explorer view to delete the files or change a setting, such as compressing your bootmgr ;), at the command prompt just type in “notepad” without prompts and then select File>Open and now you will be in a simple explorer and can make changes as necessary. Back to the original solutions.
Now that you are in the command prompt, type the following commands, pressing enter after each line. NOTE: step 5 could take around 2-3 hours depending on how big your hard drive is.
1. bootrec /fixmbr
2. bootrec /rebuildbcd
3. bootrec /fixboot
4. bootrec /scanos
5. chkdsk /r
Now you should be able to reboot your computer and have everything start up normally. If not, feel free to email me using my contact page and I will try to help you out as best as I can.